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Trump And Putin Shake Hands At Meeting; Sources: Mueller's Investigators Interview Miller; CNN Questions Russian Billionaire Linked To Manafort; E.U., U.K. Set Dueling Deadlines For Brexit Talks; Report: Flynn Probed Over Alleged Plan To Remove Cleric; Lebanon's President Demands Prime Minister's Return; Trump at Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit; Mueller's Investigators Interview Stephen Miller; Growing List of Republicans Call On Roy Moore to Step Aside; Political Satirist Rory Bremner Plays Trump. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired November 10, 2017 - 15:00   ET


HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And just wait until you hear the apology that Louis C.K. has saying those sexual misconduct allegations are

all true.

And we start with this, it was a handshake that only lasted a few seconds, but have the eyes of world right on it. When global leaders meet in one

place, there is usually a lot of small talk and group photos.

In short, not everyone is paying a lot of attention, but when it's Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin standing together, it's very different. They are

both attending the APEC Summit in Vietnam.

And whether they go beyond that handshake and actually hold a formal meeting is unclear at this stage. One thing the U.S. president was clear

about, though, was his favorite message, America first. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore. I am always going

to put America first the same way that I expect all of you in this room to put your countries first.


GORANI: While the handshake and the president's whole trip comes as a probe into Russian meddling into the 2015 election gathers phase. Sara

Murray is live in Da Nang, Vietnam. Mark Preston, CNN senior political analyst joins me from Washington.

So, Sara, are the two men, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump going to sit down for a face-to-face, and what was said between them in Da Nang?

Sara is having an issue there with her earpiece. I just heard her mutter the word, IFB. Mark, I'm going to get to you now while we fix that issue

with Sara. What is this investigation? What kind of -- how is it being received at the heart of the Trump administration because with Stephen

Miller now question.

These reports that Mark Flynn with potentially discussing payment in exchange for forcibly removing a Muslim cleric that President Erdogan of

Turkey absolutely hates. What's happening in Washington and the impact on the White House itself?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, let me add a couple of more things to that, Hala, because it will frame the situation that Donald

Trump is in right now as he is trying to talk to world leaders about cooperation, right, in the Asia-Pacific region.

One, here back home, you have four investigations right now into Donald Trump and his ties to Russia, which makes that handshake even more

important. You have two investigations out of United States Senate. One out of the United States House of Representatives.

And of course, you have an independent counsel, Robert Mueller, looking into it as well. You mentioned Stephen Miller's name. He is one of, if

not the top policy advisor for Donald Trump, writes all his remarks.

He has been interviewed, we've been told by Robert Mueller's investigators, about any ties in the firings of the FBI director here in the U.S. In

addition to that, Keith Schiller, his bodyguard acknowledges that the Trump at the time, not president, was offered the services of multiple

prostitutes during a trip over to Russia.

Now Schiller says he thought it was a joke and dismissed it, but the idea of prostitutes has been brought up in what was considered a dossier of past

transgressions of President Trump in Russia.

In addition to that, you talked about Michael Flynn, the former national security advisor, right now there are reports out that talk about how Flynn

and his son were offered $15 million to kidnap this cleric and send them back to Turkey.

At this time, you have an administration here that is very much under the gun, not only by Democrats, but these investigations at least three of them

are being led by Republicans. That is why, as our viewers around the world wondering what is Donald Trump doing? He is pushing back as far as he can.

GORANI: Right. And Sara Murray, I believe we have you back from Da Nang?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. I am back. Thank you for your patience.

GORANI: No problem. So, we saw the two men, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, shake hands. Any idea, A, what was said between them, and B,

whether or not there will be a formal, something longer, a sit-down between the two leaders?

MURRAY: We don't have any indication that today was anything more than pleasantries and the White House sort of scrapped the idea of a formal

bilateral meeting. Now both the White House and the Russians say that there could still be a pull aside. There could still be a conversation

between President Trump and President Putin.

Obviously, that would be briefer. You would get through fewer agenda items, but the other thing is you are not as likely to have the media there

to document that event, to be able to shout questions, or even to be able to document how long it goes.

Remember the last time Trump and Putin sat down together, they were scheduled to meet for a relatively brief amount of time and instead that

meeting stretched for hours and hours. So, this would be more of an informal chat on the sidelines of this APEC conference.

But President Trump is not in the country for that much longer so if it is going to happen, it has to happen essentially sometime in next 12 hours.

[15:05:06] GORANI: Mark, we mentioned that the Mueller investigation has gone as far up as Stephen Miller in the White House. What would

specifically -- what would they want to learn from him in particular?

PRESTON: Well, one specific thing was how was the firing of James Comey, who oversaw the Federal Bureau of Investigation here in the United States.

What happened -- what was the role? How did it roll out? Who made the decisions? Was it politically motivated?

All those types of questions because Miller would have been there. Also, any other questions about perhaps collusion, but also any discussions or

talk within the West Wing about any kind of rush or involvement back during the campaigns.

So, Stephen Miller would be a pivotal point. I should add to this, we are talking about Miller today, but we also know that Sean Spicer and Reince

Priebus, the former chief of staff to Donald Trump in the White House, and John Spicer as our viewers are well aware of him, was the press secretary.

They've also been interviewed by Mueller as well. So clearly, what he is trying to do is get as much information as possible from all corners to

find out if there was any kind of collusion, and if there was collusion, who actually did the colluding? Did it go as far up as Donald Trump?

GORANI: And Sara, we were discussing this earlier, obviously, Donald Trump and the administration want the world to be focusing on this Asia trip.

He's been very measured in his tweets. He had a relatively successful trip to China.

He's now in Vietnam at that APEC Summit, posing for the group photo and the rest of it. Is there any talk of what's happening back in Washington in

Asia? Is it following him there?

MURRAY: Well, look, by all accounts the White House feels like this is a relatively good trip for the president. They want to stay focus on the

issues that are here. So, they really haven't been engaging in a lot of the headlines we've seen back home.

Obviously, we've seen a number of Russia-related headlines. We've also seen a number of political headlines just in terms of domestic political

races there and the White House has been very clipped, very measured in what they are weighing in on there.

Trying to keep everything focus on this Asia trip. For the most part, they've been successful. The Russian narrative hasn't been a huge part on

the ground in the various countries that he is visiting.

The president has been focused on trying to urge China, trying to urge Russia, trying to urge others to put more pressure on North Korea, to

isolate North Korea. But I think the fact that we'll obviously were talking about these headlines back home in Russia is an indication that the

president can't escape this.

Even though he's had a relatively good trip, he is still going to come home in the next couple of days with more daunting headlines, and these are the

kind of things that do reduce your power on the world stage.

And that is something the president -- some of the president's advisors acknowledge going in that he felt like this would kind of hinder his

negotiating capacity to have this Russia cloud still hanging over him while he was overseas.

GORANI: Sara Murray, thanks very much in Da Nang. Mark Preston in Washington, thanks to both of you.

Well, speaking of Russia, CNN managed to track down a Russian oligarch, very close to Vladimir Putin, on the sidelines of that APEC Summit where

Sara is reporting from. Oleg Deripaska also happens to be a business associate of former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. What's the

link between Paul Manafort, the oligarch and other Russian officials? Matthew Chance was in Da Nang, Vietnam and asked the man himself.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, Oleg Deripaska arrived here at the APEC Summit apparently deep in conversation

with Russia's president, and of course, walking alongside of him, a sign of just how close is this Russian industrialist billionaire to the center of

Kremlin power.

Oleg Deripaska is a key figure also, of course, in the ongoing investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russia, a longtime

business associates of Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, who is now indicted on money-laundering conspiracy charges. Well, we took

the opportunity to put some key questions to the Russian oligarch.


CHANCE: (Inaudible) Manafort owe you millions of dollars (inaudible) Trump campaign?

OLEG DERIPASKA: Fake news. It's not the real truth.

CHANCE: Did he owe you millions of dollars?

DERIPASKA: It's a news for idiots. (Inaudible).

CHANCE: Did he offer those private briefings to you as a way to try and repay that debt, Mr. Deripaska? Can you just answer me that please? It's

a big issue in the United States, sir? Did he offer you those private briefings to try and repay some of that debt to you? Is that why he

offered them?

DERIPASKA: Get lost please, thank you.


CHANCE: Well, Oleg Deripaska refusing to address the questions surrounding his relationship with Paul Manafort. Off camera, though, he told me that

he believed there was no Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election, and that CNN is fake news. Both refrains, of course, Hala, that

we've all heard elsewhere. Back to you.

[15:10:10] GORANI: Thank you very much, Matthew Chance in Vietnam.

Time is ticking away for Europe, each passing day means one less for Brexit talks, and one closer to a potential cliff edge. Today, the British Prime

Minister Theresa May set the cutoff point for negotiation.

She announced a date Brexit will happen she said on March 29th, 2019 at 11 p.m. midnight on the continent. Not to be outdone, the E.U. threw back its

own deadline, just two weeks for the U.K. to say what it will pay before the next round of talks.

For more on all these countdowns and ultimatums, Bianca Nobilo, joins us live from Brussels. We heard from the chief E.U. negotiator, as well as

from the British negotiator, and once again it appears the two men weren't exactly on the same page.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN PRODUCER: They weren't and as you say, Hala, that's been a recurring theme of these Brexit talks. Both leaders, both Michel

Barnier, the E.U.'s chief negotiation and David Davis, they both did reaffirm that progress has been made in terms of citizens' rights.

But that's certainly the easiest of the three road blocks that they are both facing. They both reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring that the

situation in Northern Ireland wasn't going to get destabilized by the Brexit process.

But then when it came to the Brexit bill, they did seem to diverge slightly. Michel Barnier didn't seem to be encouraged that much progress

have been made. However, David Davis, the Brexit secretary had this to say.


DAVID DAVIS, BREXIT SECRETARY: Our European partners will not need to pay more or receive less over the remainder of the current budget plan as a

result of our decision to leave. The U.K. will honor the commitments we have made during the period of our membership. We are making clear

progress in building a common technical understanding on every (inaudible).


NOBILO: So, the translation of that is, Hala, that perhaps some progress has been made in terms of agreeing how they might calculate the Brexit

bill. So, agreeing on the methodology for deciding that number.

The number, of course, which at the moment is in the ballpark of about 60 billion euros. The U.K. doesn't want to pay any more than 20 billion

euros. Some MPs don't want to see any money paid to the E.U. at all.

Meanwhile, the E.U. -- some members saying that it should be around a hundred billion euros. So, there is a lot of dispute over that figure out

at the moment. Now as you said, before the E.U. and the U.K. still not on the same page and they really need to be in order to make progress and move

to that vital second stage of Brexit negotiations in December.

GORANI: It's not very encouraging to me 60 billion euros apart with two weeks to go?

NOBILO: No. It certainly isn't. So, there is a huge goal that they need to be able to bridge in these two weeks. The seventh round of Brexit

negotiations begin on 29th of November and then the E.U. Council meets.

All the leaders of the E.U. states will be here, the European Commission on the 14th and 15th of December. They are hoping that they can be able to

sign off on enough progress being made and that is contingent of having a clear methodology to calculate in the Brexit bill or a number in order to

move to the second phase of Brexit negotiations to discuss what the future relationship is going to look like.

GORANI: Bianca Nobilo in Brussels, thanks very much. I am sure of one thing, we'll continue to follow this story over the next week, month, and


A lot more to come this evening, another potentially explosive allegation in the Russia investigation, it involves this man, Donald Trump's former

national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Did he discuss taking money to work on behalf of Turkey? That's one report alleges.

And there are fears that Lebanon's prime minister is being held against his will. It's part of escalating tensions across the region. We are live in

Beirut just ahead.



GORANI: Now to another potentially explosive allegation in the Russia investigation, Michael Flynn, President Trump's former national security

adviser, is alleged to have been offered up to $15 million to forcibly remove a Muslim cleric wanted by Turkey.

This is all reported in the "Wall Street Journal." James Grimaldi is one of the reporters who broke the story. He spoke to CNN earlier.


JAMES GRIMALDI, SENIOR WRITER, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": That is the remarkable part of this allegation what's being investigated is that there

would be actually cash payments involved with this removal, with someone who at the time was working for the transition, had been nominated then

became the national security adviser before he was then fired by the president. So, yes, it is pretty remarkable allegation that is being

investigated by the FBI and being investigated rather seriously.


GORANI: Well, let's get more on this, CNN legal analyst, Paul Callan joins me from New York. What legal questions does this allegation raise if

indeed it is true that Michael Flynn and this was during the transition so after the election when he's already been tapped for the national security

adviser job. What legal questions does this all raise?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's such a shocking story that it is almost difficult to evaluate. If Flynn -- if General Flynn was involved in

this and his son was involved in this plot for $15 million to kidnap a refugee to the United States, this Muslim cleric was a refugee essentially

from Turkey.

He has large numbers of followers in Turkey and the Turks want him because they say he plotted to overthrow the Turkish government. But if Flynn in

exchange for money agreed to do this and proceeded to try to do it, that would be the felony of kidnapping.

And a 20-year felony by a man who was about to become the chief foreign adviser on national security matters to the president of the United States.

So, it is really a shocking story if true.

And you know, I might add it's being reported by the "Wall Street Journal," which is a conservative very -- usually very reliable newspaper itself.

GORANI: But the fact that it happened during the transition, so when he was part of the transition team on his way to serving an executive role in

Washington, does that change anything legally speaking?

CALLAN: It does not change anything legally. This -- if he did this, it would have been a crime and by the way, we should say he adamantly denies

it and just talking about it does not make it criminal. You have to do something to move the conspiracy forward.

But I think from the standpoint of the law and how this plugs into the Mueller investigation that is going on is that if he was involved in

something like this, he could have been blackmailed while he was national security adviser by the Russians or by any other foreign power that may

have known of his involvement and that could be a way that it would lead to actual legal problems and legal claims against the Trump administration

later on.

GORANI: But Flynn hasn't been charged with anything. He hasn't been indicted. What do you make of that?

CALLAN: Well, what I make of it is that the FBI is doing a very thorough investigation asking a lot of questions, but they have not come up with

enough solid evidence to make --

GORANI: Could it mean he is cooperating? Could it mean he is cooperating?

CALLAN: Well, it could mean that he is cooperating. It wouldn't be surprising if he were cooperating, and as I have just said also, even if

this is true that there was talk about doing this, talking about doing it is not criminal.

It only becomes criminal when you take an action in furtherance of the kidnapping and I've seen no evidence yet that the FBI has developed

anything in that area.

[15:20:07] But on the other hand, it's such a bombshell of information and so politically embarrassing to Flynn that they might be using it as

leverage to get him to cooperate and give up other information regarding the Trump campaign.

GORANI: And what do you make of the fact that this Russia probe has now reached the inner circle of the administration with Stephen Miller, a top

White House adviser. What does that tell us about what Mueller is doing now?

CALLAN: I think it demonstrates that Mueller is very methodical. He has really investigated the outer layers of the campaign and the Trump

administration, and now he is moving into the inner circle. I think it indicates that his investigation is moving quickly that it may come to a

close, before -- or early next year sometime, but it does not really tell us anything about whether he has a case or not.

And that is what everybody wants to know. It really says nothing about that one way or the other. It just means he is a thorough investigator.

He is moving methodically and quickly.

GORANI: Because Paul, the -- what everyone wants to know and our viewers around the world want to know. I mean, of course, they are interested in

the incremental developments and the reports. What they want to know is does this impact the president? That is really the big question here and

this is something we have no idea based on what we are learning from this investigation even though it is going quickly.

CALLAN: No. We have not seen anything that directly implicates the president in collusion or cooperation with the Russians. We have seen

indications that some of his staff even, you know, he's son -- even his own son might have been involved in discussions that involve the Russians.

But we have not seen any implication of the president himself and we also have not seen anything proven of a criminal nature because even if they

talked to the Russians, this is not criminal. This happens in presidential campaigns.

You have to do -- you have to be involved in a conversation about doing something criminal to interfere with the American election, and we clearly

have seen no evidence leaked from the Mueller investigation regarding that yet.

GORANI: Paul Callan as always thanks so much for your analysis and expertise. Appreciate it.

CALLAN: Thank you, Hala. Always good being with you.

GORANI: All right, Lebanon's president is demanding that Saudi Arabia release its former prime minister, Saad Hariri. This story is becoming

more and more mysterious and some might say slightly bizarre.

Beirut believes that the Saudis are restricting Hariri's movement and communication after he announced his resignation last week in a televised

address from Riyadh. Hariri's departure has plunged Lebanon into political turmoil and spread fears of conflict with Saudi Arabia.

The French president made a sudden trip to Saudi Arabia at Riyadh's request. You see him there, Macron meeting MBS, the crown prince. Lebanon

was among matters discussed by Emmanuel Macron with the Saudi crown prince. The political crisis in Lebanon comes against the backdrop of a huge

domestic shakeup in Saudi leadership.

Ben Wedeman joins me now live from Beirut with more. So, I was reading in the French Press, Ben, that there was a sighting apparently of Saad Hariri

by the French envoy to Saudi Arabia. We -- I haven't seen that confirmed anywhere else.

But apparently, they believe, according to a statement that they released, that he is free to move around as he pleases. But in Lebanon, Ben, it

seems like people feel like he's being held hostage or something.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Certainly, it seems that across the spectrum here that most people do believe that he is

being held in Saudi Arabia against his will. We heard from a senior ministerial source who says he believes that Saad Hariri is not free to

express himself. He is not free to move about and we also saw the future movement, his own political block, saying that they want him to come back

to Lebanon as soon as possible.

Today, Michelle Ono, who is the Christian president of Lebanon, who is a political ally of Hezbollah summoned the Saudi charge d'affaires to Beirut,

Walid al-Bukhari, and told him he believed that the manner in which Saad Hariri resigned on Saudi Arabian television from the Saudi capital is in

his words unacceptable.

And he demanded that Saad Hariri be returned to Lebanon as quickly as possible. Now, it's worth noting that on Thursday morning his plane

returned to Beirut, but he was not on it now. Now, we also heard the secretary general of Hezbollah today, Hassan Nasrallah, saying that also

believes that the Saudis are holding him against his will.

That he believed that that resignation was not made by -- willingly by him so it seems that everybody wants Saad Hariri to return.

[15:25:11] He hasn't been granted an interview to any Lebanese journalist. He has not even gone on his own television station (inaudible) to make any

sort of statement. So, the mystery deepens, and as long as this goes on, the political vacuum becomes bigger and bigger as does the sense of

uncertainty -- Hala.

GORANI: Yes. And uncertainty is really the last thing Lebanon or any country in the Middle East needs after painful -- several painful few

years. We heard from the head of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, in a televised address. He actually said he believes this is an incitement that

Saudi Arabia is trying to incite Israel into entering into another war with Lebanon.

WEDEMAN: That is right. Not only that, he said that the Saudis were trying to entice the Israelis within his words billions of dollars to

attack Hezbollah. However, he did warn Israel not to take that move because in his words Hezbollah is stronger than ever and cannot be


Certainly, the concern is that there could be a repeat of the 2006 war between Lebanon and Hezbollah, and we did, for instance, hear the Israeli

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the resignation of Saad Hariri say in which he warned Hariri that is about Iranian interference in Lebanese

and Arab affairs.

Netanyahu said that that was a wake-up call and so increasingly we have been seeing in recent months Saudi Arabia and Israel seeming to take closer

and closer public positions when it comes to Iran, which of course, is the main backer of Hezbollah.

So, the worry here is that this might be an opportunity for Israel to find an excuse to attack Hezbollah again -- Hala.

GORANI: Well, the fault lines in the Middle East once again putting the region on edge. Thanks very much. Ben Wedeman is live in Beirut.

A lot more to come this evening, an exclusive talk with First Lady Melania Trump at an iconic Chinese monument.

And the past comes back to haunt a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, a woman says Roy Moore sexually abused her when she was underage.

How Capitol Hill is reacting coming up.


HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Back to the American president's tour of Asia now. Apparently there's still a chance Donald Trump and Russian

president Vladimir Putin could hold talks on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Da Nang, Vietnam. That word is coming from Kremlin spokesperson.

The two leaders did shake hands during the always entertaining APEC class photo. There they are highlighted. Any type of interaction between Mr.

Trump and Mr. Putin is always closely watched, as the Russia investigation escalates back in the United States.

Meantime, the first lady, Melania, is getting a chance to get up close with one of her husband's favorite things, walls, visiting China's Great Wall

and taking in the epic scenery of the Chinese countryside. The first lady is shrouded in mystery usually. She rarely speaks to the press. She

tweets here and there.

But in the shadow of the great wall, CNN's Kate Bennett managed to grab a few words with Melania Trump in this exclusive interview.


KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: How are feeling, one year into this role as first lady?

How has it been for you?

MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY: It's my honor to be a first lady of the United States. And it was a very busy year. And we love to live in Washington.

We have a very busy life. And it's exciting as well. And I'm looking forward to work on behalf of the children.

BENNETT: Great. And any frustrations or anything that has been unexpected or surprising for you?

M. TRUMP: It's -- it's very exciting life. And it's a lot of things that you need to take care of, a lot of responsibilities and it's part of being

the first lady.


GORANI: Melania Trump there in the shadow or on the Great Wall of China.

Let's talk more about the potential meeting between Putin and Trump and what the president has achieved so far in his trip. David Catanese is a

senior political writer for "U.S. News & World Report," is in New York.

Thanks for being with us.

So how would you evaluate this Trump trip to Asia?

Because whenever Donald Trump travels or meets foreign leaders, all eyes are on whether or not he is going to make a gaffe or tweet something

outrageous. During this trip, though, he has been pretty, quote-unquote, "presidential" in the traditional sense of the term.

DAVID CATANESE, "U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT": He has. There's some Republicans in Washington who prefer him overseas because it puts him on a

different time zone. So he's not up watching cable news all day, tweeting and reacting to everything going back on in the United States.

And I think with every president when they go overseas, when all the pomp and circumstance of the events, these rollouts for presidents, it's make

them look good, in command.

So I think just the visuals that are coming out of this Asia trip are good for him. But on a second point, he is getting overwhelmed by a lot of

domestic headlines at home, whether it be Tuesday's elections, which were very bad for the Republican Party, or the scandal involving the Alabama

Senate candidate, Roy Moore, who has been accused of sexual misconduct with a minor.

A lot of the messaging I think gets lost not only because of the time change but because some of the powerful headlines that are going on in the

United States.

GORANI: Right. He may want to extend his trip even because it's going well in comparison to what's waiting for him at home. Let's talk about the

Russia investigation. Now it's gone as far as Stephen Miller. There's that report in "The Wall Street Journal" about Mike Flynn and allegedly a

meeting with Turkish officials, discussing giving him money, to forcibly remove a Muslim cleric that is an enemy of President Erdogan.

There is a lot bubbling up just in the last 24, 36 hours.

CATANESE: Absolutely. I think those two stories that you just outlined demonstrate Mueller's tentacles are growing. At first we thought this was

about a couple key players, about Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman. Everyone expected him to be involved.

Michael Flynn's name was involved in this investigation from the beginning. But the Turkish angle is a completely new territory. I think you would

line that up with what went on with George Papadopoulos, pretty much an anonymous foreign policy adviser, who was charged a few weeks back.

If you put this together, it means Mueller and his team are spreading wide. They are uncovering every stone out there. I think that's what makes it so

politically unpredictable. We don't know what's coming next in the investigation. That's what the biggest threat to President Trump is.

GORANI: David, stand by. David Gergen, our senior political analyst joins us now as well live.

David, fundamentally -- and we have been discussing with David Catanese the fact that this investigation, the Mueller --


GORANI: -- probe is extending, it's wider, it's going up higher all the way to Stephen Miller in the White House.

But fundamentally, all that matters in terms of what impact it could have on the administration is how close it gets to the president himself.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it obviously matters the most if he gets to the president himself. If it were to reach into the

upper areas of the White House and one of his sons or his Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, were to be caught up in this, that would be extremely

significant as well.

For the president himself, what would he do under those circumstances?

How would he act?

Would he lash out?

Would he pardon?

You can imagine the kind of scenarios that would be under those circumstances. Any time there are legal charges, criminal charges against

people high up in the White House, that can be very damaging and you can drive an administration off into a ditch very easily.

So the fact that he's now, seems to be taking Flynn very seriously and his son is important for the Mueller investigation. By the way, the fact that

Michael Flynn's son may be enmeshed with this, Michael Flynn's son, also suggests that Robert Mueller may be looking for are there other children

related to the president ultimately that he may want to -- that the path may lead there?

We will have to wait and see. I think this has gotten to be more curious, more complicated, the fact we're talking about the potential abduction or

kidnapping of a Turkish man in the United States by Michael Flynn.

Who would imagine that's where this investigation might lead?

GORANI: I don't think -- and of course, this is being denied. There's a no comment or a denial from representatives of both Flynn and his son. I

don't think could you put that you could put that in a movie, David Gergen, and anybody would believe that it's true.

GERGEN: That's right, Hala, you are absolutely right.

GORANI: I don't think you could write that in a movie script, honestly.

But all that being said, do you think based on, for instance, what happened, David Gergen, on Tuesday with those elections where the Democrats

did well, the popularity rating of Donald Trump, according to at least one late -- one of the latest polls is at 36 percent with a disapproval rating

above 50 percent, do you think that this investigation is having some sort of impact among Trump supporters?

It looks like the numbers are saying that it is.

GERGEN: Oh, I think it's having some impact. I don't think it's necessarily driving the numbers. I think the erratic nature of what's been

going on in the White House and some of the very divisive policies and statements that have come out, the inflammatory rhetoric, I think right now

that is more central.

The country right now, as best I can judge the population -- it's hard to judge in a big, diverse country like this -- but as best I can judge,

people are sort of waiting to hear what the final results are on the Mueller investigation rather than jumping to immediate conclusions.

I think Tuesday's vote, which was set, an incredibly important message, rocketing into Washington, is something that's going to make Republicans

very jittery about the 2018 elections. And they may distance themselves from the White House on some issues in ways that could also interfere with

the governing process. We'll have to wait and see.

GORANI: David Catanese, what are the Democrats doing now?

They must be, after Tuesday, slightly more energized. And they're seeing an opening there for them, aren't they, for the midterms coming up?

CATANESE: Yes, I think they see an opening but I think if you really talk to Democrats, as I did this week, you know, some of them want to pump the

brakes on the expectations. The states that Republicans won on Tuesday -- sorry, that the Democrats won on Tuesday are blue states. Virginia has

been moving, trending blue for a while. New Jersey is solidly blue.

The next year's terrain, in the Senate at least, we're starting to go into red territory. The states that are going to be battlegrounds and are tough

seats for the Democrats are going to be in Missouri, North Dakota, Montana, Wisconsin.

So just on the terrain, those are all states that were carried by President Trump. We have got a year to figure out what happens. You could have

developments in the Mueller investigation that weaken him further. Maybe Republicans don't get tax reform.

But the terrain is going to be still difficult for Democrats in some of the statewide elections in the Senate in 2018. They have quite a few

vulnerable senators that are up in pretty conservative places.

GORANI: David Catanese, David Gergen -- yes, go ahead, David.

GERGEN: I just want to make the point --


GERGEN: I think that analysis is absolutely spot on, especially in regard to the Senate. But it does seem to me that in the House of

Representatives, given the number of Republican retirements and it's been sort of a cascade of them and the number of open seats, it's possible the

Democrats could take back the House.

If they were able to get one chamber for the last two years of the first term of the Trump administration, that would make a major difference on

what the president can get done in terms of the rest of his agenda. If you have a Democrat blocking so many things, will be important for not just

politics but also for policies.

GORANI: All right. David Gergen, thanks very much there.

And thanks to both of you.

David Catanese as well for all that context on the very latest on the Russia investigation and the Trump trip to Asia.

Check out our Facebook page, by the way, for the very latest on our program.

Let's get to the allegations against a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate. We mentioned this little bit earlier this hour. A woman has come

forward to say that Roy Moore, who is running for a Senate seat in Alabama, sexually abused her in 1979, when she was 14 years old.

This could have an impact on the Republican Party. Certainly, this is something that is going to be an issue for them going forward. Our Martin

Savidge has reaction from the White House and lawmakers.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Trump administration responding to the bombshell allegations that Alabama Senate candidate Roy

Moore sexually molested a 14-year-old girl over 30 years ago, with a nod to both Moore's conservative supporters--

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president believes that we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many

years ago, to destroy a person's life.

SAVIDGE: -- and establishment Republicans, like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

SANDERS: However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.

SAVIDGE: McConnell saying Thursday that if the allegations are true, Moore must step aside. Concerns echoed by a growing list of Republicans on

Capitol Hill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they're true, he should step aside.

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R), ALABAMA: If that's true, I don't believe there would be any place for him in the U.S. Senate.

SAVIDGE: But Moore is digging in, denying the charges and blaming the, quote, "Obama-Clinton machine's liberal media lapdogs" for the "vicious and

nasty round of attacks." And vowing to never give up the fight.

President Trump's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, standing by Moore, whom he championed during the primaries, comparing the timing of the

"Washington Post" report to the release of the "Access Hollywood" tapes just before the 2016 election.

BANNON: Now is that a coincidence? That's what I mean when I say opposition party. SAVIDGE: Leigh Corfman says she was 14 years old when

she was approached by Moore outside a courtroom in 1979. He was a 32-year- old assistant district attorney. Corfman says he offered to stay with her while her mother went inside for a hearing. She says that Moore got her

phone number and later took her to his house on two separate occasions.

BETH REINHARD, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": On one of the occasions, you know, undressed her, undressed himself and, you know,

touched her over her bra and underwear and guided her to touch him over his underwear.

SAVIDGE: She said she was uncomfortable after that incident and asked Moore to take her home but never reported his behavior to police.

Three other women sharing troubling stories about Moore in recent weeks, telling "The Washington Post" that Moore pursued them when they were

between the ages of 16 and 18, while he was in his thirties. But none alleged forceful sexual contact.

Moore, a devout Christian, is no stranger to controversy, remarking just this year that he thinks that the September 11 attacks was God's punishment

for America's lack of morality and telling a reporter in a 2005 interview that homosexuality should be illegal.

ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: Just behind -- because it's done behind closed doors, it can still be prohibited by state law. Do you know

that bestiality, the relationship between man and beast, is prohibited in every state?


GORANI: There you have it. Some controversial statements by this Senate candidate in Alabama.

Another high profile entertainer has been accused of sexual misconduct in a "New York Times" report. Comedian Louis C.K. says all the allegations

contained in the report are true.

Five women told "The Times" that the comedian acted inappropriately, including fondling himself in front of them. He released a statement

saying he is remorseful and trying to learn from his actions.

The distributor of his new film, "I Love You Daddy," says it won't be releasing the movie. A limited release had been scheduled for a week from

today. And that is not happen and in fact I was checking my Twitter. And Netflix also tweeted literally minutes ago that it was not going to go

ahead with a comedy special with Louis C.K.

He is being dropped by distributors and media partners after this report in "The New York Times."


GORANI: Still to come this evening, something completely different.


RORY BREMNER, IMPRESSIONIST: This is a man who said early in his presidency, he said, "We have now seen -- we have now seen the most

successful 13 weeks in the history of the United States presidency."

He had been president for 11 weeks at that point. And this is the thing, how you actually get to grips.

GORANI: MY interview with top impressionist Rory Bremner. We'll be right back.




GORANI: We're in an era where politics regularly verge on the farcical. Right?

Everything seems crazy sometimes.

So how does a comedian keep up with all of that?

What's left for satire when the real-life people sometimes leading our country say and do things we couldn't have dreamed of?

Rory Bremner is Britain's most well-known impressionist. Back on tour this year with a bountiful supply of new material, we invited him and his many

alter egos in for a chat, 12 months on from Donald Trump's election victory.


BREMNER: I remember watching television a year ago and we saw that strange man with weird kind of orange hair and surrounded by his wife and kids and

a choir in the background singing, "You Can't Always Get What You Want."

And I remember thinking, wow, this one has done a wonderful Christmas advert and then realizing that it was -- the beginning of an extraordinary


GORANI: There was something surreal about it. Here was a man who was a reality TV show star, a real estate tycoon. No one really. I don't even

think himself, according to Hillary Clinton, expected to win.

BREMNER: I don't think he did at all --


BREMNER: -- he's defied all expectation. And he is this phenomenon. From a comedian's point of view, a satirist's point of view, it's how you -- he

is almost beyond parody. This is a man who said early in his presidency, he said, "We have now seen -- we have now seen the most successful 13 weeks

in the history of the United States presidency."

He had been president for 11 weeks at that point. And this is the thing, how you actually get to grips.

GORANI: His favorability rating, though, isn't great in the U.S.

BREMNER: I want to ask you -- let me just correct you there. You saw the poll last week. I have now got the lowest approval rating l history, 37

percent; 59 percent disapprove. That's a negative of minus 22. I don't think Harry Truman even got close to that. So that's a record.

We had the fastest resignation in the United States history. Mike Flynn, I think was about 24 days. And I've had 14 since. These are records, Hala.


GORANI: Everything is a record.

What if Hillary Clinton had won?

BREMNER: Well, I was sad about that because I kind of -- I rather wanted to see Bill Clinton back -- and I'm sure he did. You could see him say, "I

was kind of looking forward to going back to the White House. A lot of great things happened there under me. And I was looking forward to that.

I know every nook and cranny of that building, let me say."

GORANI: What about Barack Obama?


GORANI: We heard of him -- he's tweeted a few times on important issues to him, health care. He sends his sympathies when there's a big hurricane.

Otherwise we don't really --


BREMNER: What I enjoyed about him was kind of the nobility and the dignity because he spoke very slowly in sentences of five words, why, occasionally

two, sometimes even three. Spoke slowly with great authority and occasionally sounds like Kermit the Frog.


GORANI: Yes, but I wonder --

BREMNER: -- where I sit.


GORANI: When you tried, when you listen and try to come up with an impression, the technique behind it, do you start with the voice,

mannerisms, physical appearance? Sometimes they have tics, a way of moving.

BREMNER: Some are harder than others. With Trump, it's just there. He has his own, "you know, it's the voice. You always start --

GORANI: Your head tilts up.


BREMNER: -- most impressionists work instinctively. You can't help it because what you are doing as an impressionist is you are essentially --

you are seeing a film in your head and you are providing the soundtrack. So it's almost a kind of unconscious, instinctive thing.

And characters like Trump don't come along very often. We've have a British cabinet which has been quite dull (INAUDIBLE) coalition and there

are a few figures.

I mean, Boris, yes, he -- I mean, these poor people in the Caribbean that had two hurricanes and then Boris Johnson arrives. I see to the people of

Anguilla, who have lost everything. And I say to you, I say, I say, I say, Hakuna matata.


BREMNER: He said the other day

GORANI: That's terrible because --


GORANI: -- impression is so spot on.

BREMNER: Well, it's the world we are in.

GORANI: What are some of your favorite impressions beyond the few we have heard here?

BREMNER: Nelson Mandela was always a great one.

He was a great favorite of mine.

And it was great fun to do him, particularly in Cape Town. I used to try and book restaurants in his name.

I would like a table.

GORANI: Did you just call on the phone?

And say that with that voice?

Did it work?

BREMNER: Not really.


GORANI: I don't know who you are. Never call here again. Bam.

I was going to ask you when real life feels more surreal, sometimes more absurd than satire, how do you continue to your work?


BREMNER: You're have to play catch-up. People say, you couldn't make it up. But Donald Trump does all the time. He makes it up all the time. You

have just got to find a way of maybe the other way is to fight fire with facts in a sense. That's why I said Trump talking about his own approval

record, because although he is thick-skinned on many areas, when it comes to himself, Donald Trump is actually very thin-skinned.

And we must be careful. If you portray him as a clown all the time, that kind of gives him a place rather like with Boris Johnson, in which he can

operate. So you expect him to behave like that.

GORANI: Because some people would say, are you normalizing behavior, that is that should not be normalized by making fun of it, by highlighting it in

a comedy fashion?

BREMNER: Indeed. But this is the thing, you see. Trump is -- he operates -- the normal rules don't apply because he just doesn't accept them.


GORANI: Rory Bremner, he is on tour as we mentioned there with just a selection of his impressions. We're going to be right back. Stay with us.




GORANI: Let's take a pause from the headlines to look at a part of the world you may never have seen before. It's a corner of India so lush and

unusual that people cross rivers on bridges made of roots.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): You can just look out and see the clouds. The clouds always seem to be coming towards you. My name is

Patricia Mukim (ph). I belong to the Khasi tribe of Meghalaya, a matrilineal tribe.

In Meghalaya, we have three major tribes, the Khasis, the Jaintias and the Garos and all three are matrilineal. The lineage is from the mother's

side. The ancestral property passes to the youngest daughter.

All of us have little gardens. We touch the soil with our bare hands. We live very close to nature and we experience nature firsthand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Meghalaya it's mostly known for its natural landscapes. And (INAUDIBLE). I have a great love for my place out


A very, very unique thing about Meghalaya (INAUDIBLE) the living root bridges. Formed from the roots of the Indian rubber tree, the ficus

elastica. The villages out here, we can call them visionaries, because they have seen the importance of bridges. They actually guide these trees

using the bark of the betel nut tree.

Their lifespan goes on from 20 to 30 years to more than a century.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): I think that's engineering marvel at its best. These root bridges have survived the test of time. And new ones are

now being created. They're not bridges. They're living root bridges. To me, it represents a sort of sacredness. Meghalaya is just being close to

nature, just admiring nature and living nature.


GORANI: It was the case of here today, gone tomorrow, for a Lupita Nyong'o on her latest magazine cover. It's "Grazia." This is a British magazine.

It's somewhere between an entertainment magazine and a fashion magazine.

Take a closer look at what she looked like on the magazine cover and then how Lupita Nyong'o says she looked like in the original photo. She took to

Instagram and said, "As I have made clear so often in the past, with every fiber of my being, I embrace my natural heritage.

"I'm disappointed that @graziauk invited me to be on their cover and then edited out and smoothed my hair to fit their notion of what beautiful hair

looks like."

I don't know if we can pop up that before and after. But "Grazia" has now apologized to Nyongo.

Thanks for watching. I'm Hala Gorani. Stay with CNN. There it is. We'll see you on Monday.